So I’d like to take a quick moment to thank those of you who messaged, commented and e-mailed regarding the situation between my father and myself. As many of you have noticed, I removed the entry detailing the situation. That being said, there have been so many of you who reached out with similar stories and concern that I wanted to allay confusion and answer folks all at once instead of responding on repeat via message/email/comment.
You don’t have to play the game forever. Believe it or not, the person most in control is the person who no longer wants to play. From the sounds of it, that power belongs to a lot of you out there. So many of you have written in to sound off, and I wish to remind you of this. YOU have the power to end it. YOU have the power to say “Enough” and demand better for your family and your children.
I’ll admit that my son was my catalyst.
I foolishly thought I could shield him from The Game. I assumed it couldn’t touch him because he was too young to understand. Vincent’s single, tiny question took a sledgehammer to my blissful ignorance and I saw the awful truth for what it was – we cannot protect our children from such pervasive, tacitly accepted dysfunction. Inevitably, they pick up on the inflections, the whispered mockery and the practiced eye rolls; they hone their situational awareness on barbed comments, stony silence and seething disdain.
I did not want that for my son. I know many of you want better for your children as well. It seems none of us are sure how to break the cycle. Some of you have cut off family ties altogether. Some of you have continued playing The Game hoping the injuries sustained will eventually heal. Still others of you have confronted the issue only to be turned away and ostracized for your refusal to participate. How my heart breaks for you and your families. I understand the tightrope you walk. On the one hand, you want to protect your children and on the other, you want to keep familial relationships alive and well. It’s so hard, though, when you're scorned for rocking the boat.
I wish I had some good advice to give you. Unfortunately, I haven’t stumbled upon a good way to handle this myself. Every time I try to sit down and attempt getting my thoughts in order, I’m overcome with anger and a sense of hopelessness. How can I even begin to fix something so irreparably damaged?
The answer is that I can’t. I know that I can’t, and I think that’s what prevents me from trying. Sadly, I think that’s the same rut my father got stuck in decades ago when he realized just how badly he messed up. Why bother attempting to fix the puzzle when the shards of glass turned to dust long ago under such strain?
I know I need to do something. Though it’d be relatively easy to cut him out of our lives, I know that’s not the right response. My father and I are both broken people. For me to cast him aside would be both unfair and hypocritical. It would certainly be a lot easier, but you and I both know that’s not the Christian way.
Besides, I guess it's not my job to fix him or this situation. It's not up to you guys, either. God doesn't expect us to fix things like this. What He asks is that we be open to allowing Him to fix things.
Thus, I realize I need to reach out to my dad so God has something to work with, ya know? While He's easily able to work miracles without human intervention, He likes to work with us. He could've healed the paralytic man without his buddies going through the trouble of getting him onto a roof and dropping him through it, but God allowed them to come halfway so He could take their effort and magnify that offering of faith down through the ages.
I think I’m going to carve out time this week to go off by myself, grab some paper, and physically write out a response. I don’t think I’m able to have a face-to-face conversation yet; I’m too bitter. In a letter, I can edit and re-edit, softening language and sacrificing vitriol for clarity. When face-to-face, I tend to spit fire with the sole purpose of seeking mass devastation. Situations like this bring forth a fight-or-flight response in me, and I’ve never been one to flee. Thus, writing a letter is how I’ll begin this journey.
Prayers would be appreciated as I attempt to pull one together.
Please know of mine for all of you who struggle with similar situations. May we be given wisdom, clarity and a pervasive sentiment of charity.
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